The National Anthem and the Unpardonable Sin

Every human being is a free moral agent. God made us this way. From the Garden of Eden until now, people have had the right to make choices. Some of the choices we make are simply matters of opinion. Other choices we make will determine where we spend eternity.

One choice made this week that does not affect eternity was made by several NFL players. They knelt during the national anthem. This was their choice. Unfortunately, the whole issue over what to do at the playing of the anthem has gotten totally out of control. Some people want to make it about race, others politics, and still others, nationalism. As Americans, our flag stands for freedom, and it has been defended and fought for by men and women for a few centuries now. It has been established with the price of blood. I am thankful for those who have given us the right to be free.

The one thing that puzzles me about those who choose to kneel at the anthem is that they are in essence rejecting the very source of their freedom. Oh sure, you can kneel if you want to kneel. You don’t have to sing if you don’t want. You don’t have to put your hand over your heart and you don’t have to take your cap off. But in reality, those who disrespect the anthem and who want to make a statement in some kind of protest are being completely inconsistent with the reality we should all understand: If you live in this country and are a citizen and you have been given certain rights as a citizen – it is because of the flag, and the sentiments of the anthem, and because people have fought and died.

Jesus once said that there was a sin that could not be forgiven. “Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come” (Matthew 12:31-32). Now if you read the rest of the Bible, it consistently teaches that there is no sin that the blood of Christ cannot pardon. So what makes the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit not fit into that category?

The Holy Spirit brought the message of truth and salvation though preaching and revelation. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation (Rom. 1:16). Every person who does not know God and who does not obey the gospel will be lost eternally (2 Thess. 1:7). The blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is an unpardonable sin because in rejecting the Spirit of God and what He delivers to man we are rejecting the very source of our forgiveness. Thankfully, as long as there is breath in us, we can change our hearts from rejecting the Spirit to accepting and obeying what the Spirit says through the word and thus receive forgiveness.

As I was thinking about the choices people often make to disrespect the source of their freedom, it occurred to me that the foolishness of it all was a lack of appreciation for what has been done on their behalf. Some would say that people have died so that they could have the right to protest the flag. Maybe they should ask the people who actually died if that is what they were hoping to accomplish when they defended it.

I do know one thing for sure. Jesus didn’t die so we could have the right to reject the cross. We need not protest against what the Holy Spirit teaches. We can kneel at the anthem because the United States is simply a nation made up of people. And this nation is passing away. We do have the right to reject it and there will be no eternal consequences for that.  I think the problem is the attitude. It’s disrespectful and it does not understand the sacrifice. And the only people who can really understand that are the people who actually bled and died to establish it.

Some choices are just opinion, based on physical things. But other choices affect eternity, and they are based on spiritual things. There is a sin that cannot be pardoned. If we reject the very source of our spiritual freedom there is coming a day when we will be hitting our knees again. And there will be no protest on that occasion.

“He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.” – John 12:48


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AUTHOR: Jeremiah Tatum

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